Last September, we had the chance to go on a road trip of the Iberia peninsula, travelling for several weeks through Southern and Eastern Spain as well as Central and Southern Portugal. We started our journey in the grandiose capital city of Madrid, first moving West to the charming Lisbon passing by the unspoiled region of Extremadura, then South to the amazing Algarve region. We then moved back to Spain, exploring the astonishing regions of Andalucía, Murcia, Valencia and finally terminated in the heart of Catalonia in Barcelona. This is an overview of the trip with links to the specific content, videos and hotels.
- Madrid: Old Madrid and Malasaña
- Extremadura: Caceres
- Alentejo: Elvas and Evora
- Lisbon and surroundings: Alfama, Baixa, Belem and Sintra
- Southern Portugal Atlantic Coast: Sines
- West Algarve: Sagres, Lagos, Ferragudo
- East Algarve East: Faro, Tavira
- West Andalucía: Seville, Jerez de la Frontera
- South Andalucía : Cadiz, Puerto De Santa Maria and Gibraltar
- East Andalucía and Murcia: Malaga, Almunecar and Murcia city
- Valencia: Alicante, Benidorm, Valencia city
- Catalonia: Costa Dorada and Barcelona
Madrid: Old Madrid and Malasaña
Our first destination was the beautiful city of Madrid, the Spanish capital blessed with a great historic and artistic heritage. It is home to some of the best known art galleries such as the El Prado and Reina Sofia museums in the Malasaña district and a variety of walking squares such as the famous Plaza Mayor and the Puerta del Sol within Old Madrid.
After a few days in the capital we moved West to the autonomous region of Extremadura, where the charming medieval town of Caceres is located, some 300 kilometres South West of Madrid. This lovely destination is a UNESCO World Heritage City, mostly famous for is unique old town with a mix of Moors and Christians influence.
Alentejo: Elvas and Evora
After leaving the Spanish Extremadura region, we crossed over to Portugal, starting by the southern region of Alentejo where a variety of beautiful towns are located, filled with thousand years of history. Some of the key places we visited include the strategic border town of Elvas and the remarkable historic city of Évora.
Our first destination was Elvas, an impressive fortified city just a few kilometres west of the Spanish border and surrounded by a variety of plantations of olives and quality plums. It is built on a hill offering spectacular views of the surrounding villages from within the castle and its old town.
Our second destination within the lovely region of Alentejo was the historic city of Évora, famous for its numerous cultural sites such as the Roman Temple and the medieval cathedral.
Lisbon: Alfama, Baixa, Belem and Sintra
Lisbon and its surrounding region was our next major destination on our Iberian peninsula road trip. The lovely Portuguese capital is a cosmopolitan and creative city, a perfect blend of traditional and cutting edge, with a vibrant and laidback atmosphere, from the historical center of Alfama, to the Eastern district of Belem passing by the Baixa area in the heart of town.
Sintra and Castle of the Moors
Less than 30 kilometres west of the capital is the unique Castle of the Moors sitting within the Sintra Mountains and offering spectactular views over the charming town of Sintra.
Southern Portugal Atlantic Coast: Sines
We left the amazing Lisbon to head towards the South of Portugal, alongside the spectacular Atlantic Coast. One of our many stops was Sines, a charming coastal town best known for being home to the famous Portuguese explorer Vasco De Gama, and today considered one of the biggest sea port in the region.
West Algarve: Sagres, Lagos, Ferragudo
We finally reached the Southernmost coastal region of Portugal, the Algarve, by far the most popular beach resort destination of the country, blessed with warm waters and amazing natural beauty.
We started our Algarve discovery from Sagres, one of the Westernmost towns in the region and famous for its breathtaking Sagres Point.
We continued our West Algarve trip with the gorgeous resort town of Lagos with its lovely beaches surrounded with large cliffs as well as its charming old town enclosed within its Roman walls.
Further east we headed to the quiet fishing town of Ferragudo on the Arade River with its spectacular bay surrounded with typical Portuguese houses.
A few kilometers East of Ferragudo, is one of the Algarve best kept secret, the amazing Caneiros Beach, a small piece of paradise with its beautiful blue water, lovely sand and grandiose sandstone cliffs.
East Algarve East: Faro, Tavira
The Eastern part of the Algarve is home to the region only international airport, within the city of Faro, as well as home to plenty of lovely historic town such as the charming Tavira.
One of the Easternmost places of the Algarve is the lovely city of Tavira with its splendid architecture dating back thousands of years as well as its pristine beaches on the idyllic Ilha de Tavira.
West Andalucía: Seville, Jerez de la Frontera
After exploring the eastern side of the Algarve, we moved back to Spain starting with Andalucía. The well known region is the perfect destination to find the typical Spanish experience, from flamenco to Bullfighting passing by charming white washed towns, Picasso galleries and romantic sea ports. Andalucía is blessed with a rich historical heritage composed of a variety of castles, palaces and cathedrals to be discovered. Our journey through the Western part of Andalucía started with Seville and continued with Jerez de la Frontera.
Our first stop was Seville, an amazing city within north western Andalucía, home to flamenco, a variety of spectacles, art galleries, great tapas bars and nightlife as well as the famous bullfighting venues. The city is the perfect place to discover Andalucía’s best kept traditions.
Jerez de la Frontera
Our second stop was the lesser known Jerez de la Frontera, a town filled with history, dating back to the Moorish times. Its Casco Antiguo old town is especially worth discovering, where a variety of old churches, palm lined squares and the Alcazaba fortress are located.
South Andalucía : Cadiz, Puerto De Santa Maria and Gibraltar
From Western Andalucía we moved to the region’s Southern tip, where we started with Puerto De Santa Maria and finished with the unique British Gibraltar passing by the remarkable Cadiz, known as the oldest inhabited city in Europe.
El Puerto de Santa Maria
El Puerto de Santa Maria is a lovely coastal town located around the mouth of the river Guadalete and sitting on the northern side of the Cadiz Bay. The town is packed with a variety of cultural and historic sites including its Castle, the Plaza España and the local museum.
Cadiz is a walled port city entirely surrounded by water, capital of the Cadiz Province and famous for its long history starting with the Phoenicians some thousands years ago.
Gibraltar often referred to as The Rock is a small British overseas territory located on the southern coast of Spain, bordered with Andalusia and the Mediterranean sea. The majority of the area is occupied by the Rock of Gibraltar, which is visible from a far distance.
East Andalucía and Murcia: Malaga, Almunecar and Murcia city
We concluded our Andalucian journey with the vibrant city of Malaga followed by the quieter resort town of Almunecar, before crossing the border to the small region of Murcia.
Our first destination on the eastern side of Andalucía was Malaga considered the primary tourist hub in Costa del Sol. Indeed the city, its surrounding resort towns and beautiful beaches attracts millions of people each year.
With its natural beauty, plenty of historical sites, a lovely old town and easy transport connections, Almunecar was our second destination in East Andalucía. The city is often considered the capital of the lovely coastal region of Costa Tropical, offering a lovely subtropical climate, ideal for a sun and sea holiday.
Our next place on our Spanish road trip was the city of Murcia, capital and most populated city of one of the smallest region’s in Spain, the Autonomous Community of Murcia. The city is rich in history, have a vibrant student’s vibe and is definitely worth discovering.
Valencia: Alicante, Benidorm, Valencia city
The region of Valencia was the next Autonomous Community on our list after Murcia. It is one of the most touristic part of Spain, blessed with a beautiful coastline and packed with a variety of resorts towns within its famous Costa Blanca and Costa Calida coastal regions. We started our journey with the Southern city of Alicante, followed by the skyscrapers packed resort town of Benidorm and finished with the region’s capital, Valencia city.
Alicante is part of the beautiful Costa Blanca, over 200 kilometres of coastline offering white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters and a background of mountainous region parallel to the coast.
Benidorm is the perfect purpose built resort town, an ideal destinations for a stress free beach holiday. The city offers all the amenities vacationers could wish for, combined with a safe but exciting atmosphere with an abundance of dinning and nightlife.
Being one of the world’s most historical and intriguing cities, packed with a variety of sites to be discovered, it is no wonder Valencia is one of the top touristic cities, attracting millions of visitors each year.
Catalonia: Costa Dorada and Barcelona
Cataluña was the last Spanish region we visited. It is one of the most popular destinations in the country, being home to the unspoiled beaches of the Costa Dorada to the south, the packed resort towns of Costa Brava to the north and the vibrant Barcelona at its heart. We stared our Catalonia journey, with Hospitalet de l’Infant a fairly unknown but lovely resort town and finished with the very popular Barcelona.
Hospitalet de l’Infant
Hospitalet de l’Infant is a lovely coastal town within the vacation friendly Costa Dorada. It is located only a few kilometres from Tarragona and some 125 kilometres South of Barcelona.
Our final destination of our Spanish Portuguese road trip was the famous Catalonian capital, Barcelona, one of Europe’s more exciting cities. Indeed the city is packed with a variety of exciting attractions, from the continent’s best-preserved Gothic quarter and fascinating Gaudi architecture to its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife.